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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-17-2018, 5:37 PM
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Default BCD436HP Junk?

My first post. I work as a volunteer EMS operator in the Tucson area. I purchased a Uniden BCD436HP about three years ago to monitor local EMS and emergency traffic. The radio seems to be total junk. The communications sound completely garbled, especially PCSO and Tucson Police. I get no TFD reception.

Any suggestions?

I have recently uploaded the revised database.

It there a good handheld scanner that is not as complex and difficult to program?

Thanks in advance.

W.
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Old 10-17-2018, 6:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KB7TV0 View Post
My first post. I work as a volunteer EMS operator in the Tucson area. I purchased a Uniden BCD436HP about three years ago to monitor local EMS and emergency traffic. The radio seems to be total junk. The communications sound completely garbled, especially PCSO and Tucson Police. I get no TFD reception.

Any suggestions?

I have recently uploaded the revised database.

It there a good handheld scanner that is not as complex and difficult to program?

Thanks in advance.

W.
I feel that the 436HP has finally matured and is very
good scanner. If you want something a simpler to use ,the Whistler TRX-1 is another option. If it's simulcast distortion giving you trouble then your options would be the Unication G-5 or the Uniden SDS100 ( not recommended) .
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Old 10-17-2018, 6:26 PM
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That scanner is an excellent receiver. The fact that you don't know how to program it or the local radio system are not what you expected shouldn't reflect on the radio. Like Tumegpc said, it's probably simulcast problems. Uniden has a scanner to deal with simulcast.

Many radio systems are complicated now. The scanners designed to receive those transmissions must also be somewhat complicated. Deal with it.
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Old 10-17-2018, 6:41 PM
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The 436 is a complicated beast to program, so patience is a virtue. Everything you need to know is on this site. I don't know if your system uses LSM or not, but I personally always found the 436's digital audio a little "muddy" compared to GRE/Whistler but that may just be my ears. But if it's garbled it's probably either LSM or you're getting interference/overload from another source, like a cell tower. Does it work well anywhere you take it or is it that way everywhere?
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Old 10-17-2018, 7:09 PM
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Uniden sells this radio as "self programming" using your zip code. I'm sorry, that's false advertising if you are receiving crap or noting and some high end technical adjustments are needed that are not explained anywhere.
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Old 10-17-2018, 7:35 PM
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Did some research and it seems the 436 will not work with Simulcast A here in Tucson, so TFD will not be heard. Thanks.
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Old 10-17-2018, 8:47 PM
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The comments below are made by a 36 year fulltime paid Fire/EMS Responder.
#1 A scanner is not a public service receiver and should never be used as a dispatch receiver.
#2 If you want to be a public service ems responder buy a public service commercial radio not a hobby scanner.
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Old 10-17-2018, 8:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buddrousa View Post
The comments below are made by a 36 year fulltime paid Fire/EMS Responder.
#1 A scanner is not a public service receiver and should never be used as a dispatch receiver.
#2 If you want to be a public service ems responder buy a public service commercial radio not a hobby scanner.
Lighten up! The guy asked a question about the receive quality on a 436hp to monitor local agencies. He never said about using it as a public service receiver.
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Old 10-17-2018, 8:57 PM
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Lighten up! The guy asked a question about the receive quality on a 436hp. He never said about using it as a public service receiver.
Yeah, you're right, but the guy made a derogatory blanket statement about without knowing enough about the scanner or what he was trying to scan, Not the best way to break into this forum.
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Old 10-17-2018, 9:57 PM
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Warren, let's talk offline and I will help you out. I am in Tucson. Wayne N7ZQS
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KK4JUG View Post
Yeah, you're right, but the guy made a derogatory blanket statement about without knowing enough about the scanner or what he was trying to scan, Not the best way to break into this forum.
Not derogatory, just true. Yes, the 436 is basically junk when it comes to monitoring an LSM system, which the PCWIN system most certainly is. We all know that. But the Uniden fanboys won't admit it and instead chose to blame the operator, the system, the location, the antenna, the wind - anything but Uniden.

To the OP - yes, you're basically right. That scanner is crap if you're trying to listen to PCWIN. Unlike others, I won't blame that fact on you. To prove I'm neither a Uniden fanboy nor a Uniden hater, see my posts from last week wherein I rave about the Uniden SDS100 on PCWIN. Simply put, the 436 doesn't have the right hardware to work well on PCWIN (though they sell it as such, and occasionally you might here a few words). The SDS100 was actually designed by Uniden to cure the defects inherent in the 436 when it comes to monitoring systems like PCWIN (read their advertising - they all but admit this, even if only indirectly). And it works great on PCWIN.

But no, operating these scanners is not simple. Simple is a Unication G4 or G5, or a BK KNG-P800. The former will cost the same or less than an SDS100 but won't have nearly so many whizbang features, but will work well for basic monitoring once programmed (but you will need help to program it if you found the 436 challenging). The latter will cost a ton more but will work even better (it is a public safety grade P25 transceiver that happens to have a true "Receive Only" mode), but here again you would need proprietary software and help to program initially.

I used my KNG-P800 and my SDS100 to monitor PCWIN last week. Both sounded fantastic all over town. But I admit I am sufficiently techy that neither overwhelms me in terms of programming or operation. My 436, on the other hand, sounded like - well - junk.

You said "volunteer EMS". UofA EMS, or SARA? I can't imagine who else is "volunteer EMS" in the Tucson area. I'm guessing the former since they are dispatched on PCWIN, whereas SARA isn't (though monitoring PCSO East 1 could be quite useful to an active SARA member).

Dan
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:20 PM
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I run dispatched calls and stand by my comment life saving EMS calls do not need to be dependent upon hobby scanners. Would you want your families fate placed in a scanner. I would not that is why you use Public Safety Radios or a Unication G4 or G5 that is designed for Public Safety.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by buddrousa View Post
I run dispatched calls and stand by my comment life saving EMS calls do not need to be dependent upon hobby scanners. Would you want your families fate placed in a scanner. I would not that is why you use Public Safety Radios or a Unication G4 or G5 that is designed for Public Safety.
The OP never said anything about depending on a scanner. He specifically asked about monitoring local agencies on one. Many agencies use scanners to monitor local agencies.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by KB7TV0 View Post
Uniden sells this radio as "self programming" using your zip code. I'm sorry, that's false advertising if you are receiving crap or noting and some high end technical adjustments are needed that are not explained anywhere.
Do you have all the correct service types enabled? It is not a high end technical adjustment.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:54 PM
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Maybe it's the luck of the draw but my 436 does just fine where I am and, trust me, it's simulcast. Having said that, I know most others have problems.

The serial number indicates my 436 was made in 2014 and I've never had a single problem with it. Once again, maybe it's the luck of the draw. If it makes any difference, my SDS100 has performed flawlessly, too, even with GPS.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buddrousa View Post
I run dispatched calls and stand by my comment life saving EMS calls do not need to be dependent upon hobby scanners. Would you want your families fate placed in a scanner. I would not that is why you use Public Safety Radios or a Unication G4 or G5 that is designed for Public Safety.
That's great in theory. And if money were no object we could stop there.

But the OP wasn't asking about your opinion of his non-profit volunteer force's budget. Unless of course you're looking to donate a fleet of APXs I'm sure.

Yes, I want my family to have a chance of a volunteer EMT with an AED who heard a cardiac arrest on his scanner showing up in 2 minutes instead of perhaps waiting 20 minutes or more for the first "professional" to arrive.

City slicker.


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Old 10-18-2018, 10:09 AM
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Do you have all the correct service types enabled? It is not a high end technical adjustment.
Yes, when I scroll manually through the list it's there:

Pima County Wireless Network Intregrated Network,
Tucson, Fire Department
Simulcast A, B, Keystone Peak (switches between them).
Dispatch

TGID 15001
Fire Dispatch

Tag--,--,---NFM DAT

The firmware and data base is up to date. None of the Tucson Fire entries have reception and the Tucson Police reception is so garbled it's very difficult to understand. I believe this is a design issue as I've seen a lot of complaints. It sounds like the new scanner (or a different brand) might fix some of these issues.

To be clear, I'm NOT using this specific radio for any emergency situation. I've been working with scanners and radios for over 30 years, although the new digital systems are *somewhat* new to me. I believe this issue stems from a reception issue, e.g., the antenna, poor design or maybe they have altered the digital system to a new type the radio does not receive. Thus the term **junk.** Uniden is worthless for getting assistance and is why I posted here. Thank you.
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Old 10-18-2018, 8:41 PM
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Nobody has mentioned an obvious possibility: the scanner may be broken! You might have to send it to Uniden and pay a bit.

If it were me, I'd see if anyone else in Tucson is using that model to listen to what you are having trouble with. If they are and it works for them, and your scanner fails in a number of different locations, then it's either programmed wrong or broken. If you can't find anyone, then your only recourse is to send it in to Uniden and risk the repair fee on the hope that it is indeed broken.

I'm a techie - engineer and programmer, and have been using scanners for decades. I built my first scanner myself. I say that because these modern systems are complex and a pain for me to program, so don't feel bad if people attack you for maybe not having it right.
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Old 10-18-2018, 9:01 PM
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Nobody has mentioned an obvious possibility: the scanner may be broken! You might have to send it to Uniden and pay a bit.

If it were me, I'd see if anyone else in Tucson is using that model to listen to what you are having trouble with. If they are and it works for them, and your scanner fails in a number of different locations, then it's either programmed wrong or broken. If you can't find anyone, then your only recourse is to send it in to Uniden and risk the repair fee on the hope that it is indeed broken.

I'm a techie - engineer and programmer, and have been using scanners for decades. I built my first scanner myself. I say that because these modern systems are complex and a pain for me to program, so don't feel bad if people attack you for maybe not having it right.
If they are and it works for them, and your scanner fails in a number of different locations, then it's either programmed wrong or broken. If you can't find anyone, then your only recourse is to send it in to Uniden and risk the repair fee on the hope that it is indeed broken.

I'm a techie - engineer and programmer, and have been using scanners for decades. I built my first scanner myself. I say that because these modern systems are complex and a pain
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Nobody has mentioned an obvious possibility: the scanner may be broken! You might have to send it to Uniden and pay a bit.

If it were me, I'd see if anyone else in Tucson is using that model to listen to what you are having trouble with.
See above. I've used a 436 in Tucson (and elsewhere with LSM P25 systems). I've also used an SDS100 in Tucson (and elsewhere with LSM P25 systems). Simply put, as the OP said, the 436 is junk for this. The SDS100 works great.

This is not new folks. The 436 really is known to b junk, for a lot of people in a lot of places, for monitoring P25 LSM systems, while the SDS100 works a lot better (but not perfectly).

Interestingly, from all I've read and personally experienced on both, the 436 seems to be "more junky than usual" for monitoring PCWIN specifically, while the SDS100 seems to be "more better than usual" for monitoring PCWIN specifically. It's like the relative score of the two is amplified in Tucson.

I have less fun with my 436 in Tucson than Atlanta. I have more fun with my SDS100 in Tucson than Atlanta.

Dan


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Old 10-19-2018, 11:53 AM
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. I will try the suggested solutions. The radio is programmed correctly as far as I can tell. I did a lot of Internet searching and it seems this is a common 436 issue with digital systems. (The VHF and UHF reception is fine). The radio simply does not have the guts to pick up any digital transmission unless you are very close to the signal. This is likely why so many people complain about the "Close-Call" feature.
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